I remember it like it was yesterday. My husband came in from the garage and told me that a hummingbird had flown into the garage and he was trying to get it out. The problem was that every time he tried to catch the hummingbird to help it out of the garage, it would flee from him. Deciding that he would just leave the garage with the doors wide open, he came in the house so the hummingbird would not feel threatened.
As we periodically checked on the hummingbird, we found that he was flying up high and would not fly lower to where the open door was. We watched as he flew into the walls over and over again in trying to fly away. This went on all day and we decided to just leave the garage door open overnight in the hope that the bird would eventually find his way out.
Freedom was just a wide open door away. Yet that hummingbird kept flying to places where he could not escape. The next morning when we came out to check and see if the bird had finally flown away, it was to find his lifeless body lying on the floor. We were so sad to think that freedom was there for the taking, but he could not see it.
I have found many people live the same way. God has offered them freedom from the bondage of sin. It is there for the taking, yet, so many live in such a way that they will never find that freedom. They keep repeating the same sins over and over again without realizing they can be free. They keep flying into the same walls in the same direction, instead of changing course and finding freedom. They become bound by legalism and doing things that burden them and tie them down instead of finding their freedom in Christ.
One of my very favorite scriptures comes from Galatians 5:1. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” I like the way it is stated in The Message, “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”
The older I get, the more I realize that so many Christians become entrenched in the “shoulds” and “oughts” that they forget about grace. They become so legalistic that they forget Christ paid the price for our freedom with His blood. God’s grace. What a beautiful, transformative concept for us.
I think with sadness about a little hummingbird who could have lived in freedom, but instead died, never realizing freedom was his for the taking if he would just change his perspective. Then I think of all of the Christians I know who have bought into legalism in the church and have forgotten about the freedom we have in Christ.
I pray that I will always live to follow Christ with his freedoms, rather than be willingly enslaved by legalistic chains that would bind me forever. I certainly hope that I am not like a hummingbird that God is watching and just shaking he head over, because I cannot change my perspective and fly free.
John 8:36, Acts 13:38-39